It is usual for babies to suck on their thumbs, fingers, and pacifiers because it is a natural reflex for them.

They also feel comfortable when they suck onto something. However, in as much as babies may feel satisfied thumb sucking, it may damage their teeth and mouths if done for a long time.

Babies are born with a natural urge to suck on something. It is the only way they can learn more about their environment. This urge usually decreases after the first six months, but some babies persist in sucking their fingers and thumbs to calm themselves whenever they want to fall asleep. Older children may suck their thumbs whenever they are scared, hungry or restless. If the sucking continues past the age of 5, then it could be a sign of an underlying emotional disorder.

Here are some of the consequences of thumb sucking to your child:

When children are allowed to suck on their pacifiers and thumbs after their teeth begin to erupt, then significant problems can arise:

1. Open bite

One of the severe side effects of thumb sucking is malocclusion which refers to tooth misalignment that is visible with the mouth closed. Open bite is an example of tooth misalignment. It is a scenario when your child’s top and bottom front teeth become directed outward so that the teeth do not touch even when he/she closes her mouth completely.

2. Over bite

It is another example of malocclusion. Your child’s upper front teeth are misaligned such that they cover the bottom front teeth when he/she closes his/her mouth rather than touching typically. It is one of the severe dental issue.

3. Development of speech problems

Your child can develop speech problems when they continuously suck on their thumbs and pacifiers. As soon as you notice speech blocks in your child, you should train him/her on stopping thumb sucking and replace it with a better habit. Speech is a vital skill in growing kids, and you should not alter.

4. Middle-ear infections

Thumb sucking and use of pacifiers after the eruption of teeth can result in bacterial infections of the middle ear. These infections can be so severe that surgery may be the option to cure them. Why should you subject your child to such when you can avoid?

5. Skin problems on their thumbs

Children who continuously suck on their thumb develop serious skin problems on their thumbs. The skin becomes susceptible to infections when it continually wet. In some instances, the skin may crack making your child’s hands vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections.

If your child’s thumb sucking behaviour persists and you begin to notice any of these adverse effects, then you can visit Bright Smiles Dentistry for practical dental help. Bright Smiles Dentistry can provide professional advice and support to help your child stop thumb sucking and rectify the damage already done. Make an appointment today to correct your child’s thumb sucking behavior!